Gift Giving as a Minimalist


During the Holiday season, it is so easy to become wrapped up in making a list and checking it twice in order to give people all the gifts they desire throughout the year. We shuffle around the malls, excessively order items online, and rummage through our closets to find the “perfect” gift for all the people on our list. We want to show those we love how much we cherish them through the gifts we select. As a society, we create high expectations when it comes to the gifts given and the gifts received. Our intentions are good, but we often lose sight of why we are giving the gift. This can result in high-stress and low-finance situations, removing the joy that is to be embraced during the Holidays. However, with a little adjustment in your gift giving mindset, you will be able to enjoy the process of wrapping and unwrapping those little gems once again. Here are a few ways to incorporate a minimalist approach into your gifts this season:

Know Your “Why” When it Comes to Gift Giving

One of the greatest shortcomings people often face when it comes to purchasing gifts is the lack of preparation. This does not mean the budgeting or even the list of gifts to be purchased. Rather, it is important to establish who you want to give a gift to and why. Quite often we simply buy people gifts because “it is the thing to do” during the Holiday season. Our friends and family give us gifts, and thus, we are expected to do the same. With this mindset, we head off to the store, and find the best thing for those on our list that we can find in the store. Although this may seem thoughtful, in actuality, we are creating a pattern of giving a gift that is “ok” rather than exactly what they need.

Instead of jumping on this bandwagon, take the time to consider who you really want to give gifts to and why. This will help you narrow your focus on those people in your life you really want to treat during the Holiday season and why you value your relationship with them. This helpful tidbit may be the most difficult one to embrace, but when you do, you begin to seek the value that giving and receiving a purposeful gift actually brings to you.

Consider What Gift They ACTUALLY Want

Once you have determined the “who” and the “why” of your gift giving, the next step in the minimalist approach is the “what”. What would the person on your list really want this Holiday season? Just like the previous step, it is important to take some time to really consider what the person on your list values. In order to do this, reflect on the conversations you have had with them over the past few months. Friends and family will often provide insight as to what they truly would love to have during your interactions with them. If you are being really proactive, you can make little notes on a notecard throughout the year as to what gift they may want for the Holiday season. Then, when the season is here, you already have their gift in mind; saving you time and energy. If you have not thought ahead, resist impulse buying simply to get them a gift. Again, personal value over purchase necessity.

Experience Or Item

As you are pondering what gifts the people on your list want, one option to consider is selecting an experience over an item. If you have an individual on your list who really values quality time or memories created, they may enjoy a nice dinner out, a weekend at a bed and breakfast, or another experience to be remembered. However, if your friend appreciates when you bring her coffee or give her the newest fingernail polish, she may prefer a physical gift. Again, it is important to consider who you are getting the gift for and what they may like.

Keep It Simple

Whether you choose to purchase an item or reserve an experience, keep the idea simple. Relate the gift back to what the person receiving the token of appreciation holds to be valuable. When you keep in mind the value to the individual, you can clearly pick the gift that is going to be cherished by them in its most basic form. For example, do not feel the need to purchase the chocolates, the socks, and the latest technology gadget. Pick the item that he or she will find most valuable. This will let the other person know that you really considered what they needed or wanted and you specifically chose that one item. It will be more about the thought and consideration that went into that one item versus the abundance of physical mementos received.

Gift giving using the minimalist approach is less about the actual gifts exchanged and more about the consideration that went into selecting the right gift for the person receiving it. Do not feel obligated to purchase several mediocre gifts all from a single store in order to simply meet your quota and others’ expectations. Rather, personally consider each person who will be receiving a gift from you and why you want to give them a small token of appreciation during the Holiday season. Once your list is created, spend some time reflecting on what the person would value most. Would they prefer an experience or do they appreciate a physical item that proves to be meaningful to them? Finally, keep the gift simple. This often shows the thought that went into the one item versus if you were to purchase several items at a time. During this time of year, remember to embrace the people around you and the memories created and then see to it that your gifts reflect such a feeling. If you do this, you will already be in the minimalist mindset when the time of gift giving presents itself.

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